Nonprofit Garners National Interest by Efforts to Spark Diversity and Inclusion
ORLANDO, FL, December 04, 2019 /Neptune100/ — The Nielsen Foundation, a private foundation funded by Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, has awarded Tech Sassy Girlz (TSG) with funding to support its efforts to spark diversity and inclusion in technology fields. The Nielsen Foundation seeks to enhance use of data by the social sector to reduce discrimination, ease global hunger, promote effective education, and build strong leadership.
“We are thrilled that we have been awarded with a grant again from the Nielsen Foundation. Their financial support of $22,500 will go toward supporting Tech Sassy Girlz programs. The Foundation’s support of our organization helps to raise our profile and attracts more interest in our cause and the impact we’re making for future women in STEM,” says Laine Powell, Ed.D., Tech Sassy Girlz Founder and Executive Director.
Founded in 2012, TSG was created to cultivate young girls to aspire as innovators, makers, entrepreneurs and pioneers of the future. The organization works to empower middle and high school girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through college preparation, career readiness, and mentoring. To date, TSG has touched the lives of more than 800 middle and high school “girlz” and awarded more than $25,000 in STEM scholarships.
According to national research, in 2020, 1 million tech jobs will be available in the United States, but the vast majority of U.S. students will be unprepared to fill them. 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. The federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector need many more. STEM fields are at the core of the nation’s innovation.
In 2015, research showed that only 22 percent of students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exam were girls, and only 13 percent were African-American or Latino students. These statistics mirror the current makeup of some of America’s largest and more innovative tech firms, where women comprise less than one-third of their technical employees, and African-Americans less than three percent.
“Tech Sassy Girlz is a program that aligns with the Nielsen Foundation’s priorities, which include technology, education and diversity & inclusion. We are committed to making a global impact in these areas to enable the next generation of extraordinary and diverse leaders, and we’re thrilled to support Tech Sassy Girlz as part of this mission,” says Emily Epstein, President, Secretary & Executive Director– Governance, Nielsen Foundation.
Computer science can help foster computational thinking skills that are relevant to many disciplines and careers, such as breaking a large problem into smaller ones, recognizing how new problems relate to ones that have already been solved, setting aside details of a problem that are less important, and identifying and refining the steps needed to reach a solution. Programs like TSG that foster STEM by providing access to mentors and immersion are helping to inspire young girls and are changing the face of technology.
“Computer science and data science are not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector,” says Powell. “It gives students opportunities to be producers and makers, not just consumers, in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world,” she adds.
About Tech Sassy GIrlz:
With a mission to empower middle and high school-age girls to pursue future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Central Florida-based non-profit organization Tech Sassy Girlz is leading the way in inspiring the next generation of female STEM professionals. For more information, visit www.techsassygirlz.org.